Mary Tighe

Mary Tighe (née Blackford or Blanchford) (October 9, 1772 – March 24, 1810), was an Anglo-Irish poet.

She was born in Dublin to Theodosia Tighe, a Methodist leader, and William Blachford (d.1773?), a Church of Ireland clergyman and librarian. She had a strict religious upbringing, and when she was twenty-one she married Henry Tighe (1768–1836), her first cousin and a member of the Parliament of Ireland for Inistioge, County Kilkenny. The marriage is said to have been unhappy, though little is known.

The couple moved to London in the early nineteenth century. Tighe became acquainted with Thomas Moore, an early admirer of her writing, and others interested in literature. Although she had written since girlhood, she published nothing until Psyche (1805), a six-canto allegorical poem in Spenserian stanzas. Psyche was admired by many and praised by Thomas Moore in his poem, 'To Mrs. Henry Tighe on reading her Psyche'.

Having suffered for at least a year, Mary Tighe endured a serious attack of tuberculosis in 1805. In February 1805 Thomas Moore states that she had 'a very serious struggle for life' and in August of the same year that she was 'ordered to the Madeiras'. Moore also claimed that 'another winter will inevitably be her death.' Tighe lived for another five years and spent her last few months of life as an invalid at her brother-in-law's estate in Woodstock,co. Wicklow, Ireland. She was buried in Initioge church, co. Kilkenny. Her diary was destroyed, though a cousin copied out excerpts.

The year following her death a new edition of Psyche was released, along with some previously unpublished poems; it was this edition that established her literary reputation. John Keats was one of her admirers and paid tribute to her in his poem, "To Some Ladies." Pam Perkins writes that "espite the bleakness of many of the short poems in the 1811 volume, in much of the nineteenth-century writing on Tighe there is a tendency to make her an exemplar of patiently (and picturesquely) long-suffering femininity, a tendency exemplified most famously in Felicia Hemans's tribute to her, 'The Grave of a Poetess.'"

Read more about Mary Tighe:  Works